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Obama 10, Charlotte 10, Bill Clinton 8, Us 7, Washington 5, Clinton 5, Clint Eastwood 4, Michelle Obama 4, Paul Ryan 4, Jerusalem 3, America 3, Humana 3, New York 3, Leibovitz 3, Bob Cusack 3, Joe Biden 3, Eric 2, Afghanistan 2, Palestine 2, North America 2,
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  CNN    Reliable Sources    Series/Special.   
   (2012) New. (CC)  

    September 9, 2012
    8:00 - 9:00am PDT  

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>> the platform has been amended as shown on the screen. >> we went back and checked the 1840 democratic platform. it mentioned neither god nor jerusalem. thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. i will see you next week. stay tuned for "reliable sources." we are just back from charlotte along with the rest of the media mob after a long week in tampa covering the speeches and the spectacle of the conventions. the media portrayal of the democratic gathering clearly more positive than that was the republicans. was that a fair reflection of reality? did the press just plain swoon over those speeches by bill clinton and michelle obama far more than over the appearances by mitt and ann romney? >> the first lady of the united states not hitting a home run, but probably a grand slam. as far as what her mission was to do -- >> the master, bill clinton, delivered a masterpiece of a speech. truly a wonder. a rousing call to re-elect president obama. >> an electrifying endorsement of president obama from the
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former president -- >> a performance was amazing in the room, amazing on tv. >> reviews of president obama's speech not quite so positive. plus, some journalists are openly complaining, okay, maybe whining a bit, about the joyless and overly choreographed nature of this campaign. do they have a point? i'm howard kurtz, and this is "reliable sources." it's rare in these days of polarized politics that most pundits agree on anything. when the democratic convention kicked off this week, there was plenty of praise for the soft-spoken and highly personal speech by michelle obama. >> michelle obama owned this convention, the delegates. >> i think that we may have forgotten how good michelle obama is. >> michelle obama. i thought knocked it out of the park, as you americans would say. >> my first thought was, and i see here, this is an extremely impressive and attractive woman.
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>> but the media mavens were just warming up. when the 42nd president took the stage for a long, folksy, and colorful speech -- dimension it was long? it was a blast from the past for those of us who covered him in the '90s. >> president obama appointed several members of his cabinet, even though they supported hillary in the primary. [ applause ] >> heck, he even appointed hillary. [ laughter ] ♪ >> president clinton may have just made a better argument for the obama administration than the obama administration has been able to make for itself. >> just an amazing speech, i thought. >> i have to tell you, this may have been the best speech i have ever heard bill clinton deliver over all of these years. >> he's the most talented politician i've ever covered and the most charming man i ever met. no one in my view can mount an argument, frame an argument more
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effectively than he can. and that doesn't mean everything he said was true. >> this convention is done. this will be the moment that probably re-elected barack obama. >> we'll see about that. obama's speech drew decidedly lukewarm reviews from the press. joining us to examine the coverage of the convention in washington, jane hall, associate professor at american university school of communications. jackie kucinich, political reporter at "usa today." and bob cusack, managing editor of the capitol hill newspaper "the hill." bob cusack, the extraordinary media reaction to bill clinton's speech, even leaving aside the subplots about hillary in 2016 says to me journalists missed the guy. >> definitely. there was nostalgia here. the speech was 48 minutes, 15 minutes longer than his 1988 speech that was panned. i thought it was great, but the media reaction was much. he did meander. 48 minutes. a long time. the networks stayed with him, but long. >> had bill clinton gotten off
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the stage after the first 20, 25 minutes, i think people would have said it was an incredible oration. he went on and on. most pundits gave him a pass for going long. there he goes again, self-indulgent bill clinton, but he's energying. >> we were taking guesses how long it would be. a pool going. i mean, i think you're right. there was a little bit of missing him. h he is the ultimate non-stagecrafted, non-choreographed politician. when we have a race that is very buttoned up, very scripted in a lot of ways. so -- >> jane, can this be the same politician who was at war with the media during his 1998 impeachment and all the scandals that swirled around that? >> right. right. you know, hee -- he has become beloved. and people end to forget some of what happened, some of the attitudes. i is to say that i think for a little baseball here, he kept the audience in the halogen gauged. obama, you know, benefited clearly from the argument. obama joked that someone tweeted he should be the secretary of
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explaining stuff. jon stewart said, isn't it refreshing that we had a policy wonk, largely factual discussion. and i think there is a hunger for that. obviously you can fact-check what he said. but he went through and presented the case, and since we're in such a spin alley, i thought it was a very good policy speech. >> the policy walk asnaekt lifted it above -- >> it was appealing, i thought. >> clinton is good at melding the two and will being a great showman. now when president obama spoke and there were great expectations because he is such an orator, the reviews were, i would say, on balance, pretty lukewarm, disappointment, mediocre, okay, but not his strongest speech. let's look at some of that to start with. >> i won't pretend the path i'm offering is quick or easy. i never have. you didn't elect me it tell you what you wanted to hear. you elected me to tell you the truth. >> it just didn't have that little spark it seemed to me
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that clinton had over and over again. >> i was stunned. this is a man who gave one of the great speeches of our time in 2004. he gave one of the emptyiest speeches i have ever heard on a national stage. >> but the reaction to the president's speech very different on msnbc. >> the president tonight had one of his strongest finishes. very passionate. >> after four years in office, the president delivered a home run of a speech. the president stated clearly and emphatically he is the president. >> jane, did these people watch the same speech as everyone else? >> well, you know, charles watched the same speech and so did karl rove who heads the superpack against obama and commented on the speech. so i think they -- i think the msnbc people -- i liked what they did largely. in this instance, i think that they may have not really seen that the speech was not soaring oratory. >> you are saying they were
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cheerleading? >> i think they saw it through the lens with which they were seeing it. >> bob cusack, obama gave a pretty good speech overall. the media acted like it was terrible. seems to me that perhaps we have set a standard for him that it he doesn't hit the stratosphere, he has somehow failed. >> he definitely set the bar so high because he's a great orator. but i do think he got off to a flat start. i did think he finished strong. it was about a b. and then when you have more -- partisan voices getting in, you'll have charles krautheimer saying empty. >> do the media tend to ignore the substance? he talked about energy and investing in education, $4 trillion in spending cuts to reduce the deficit. is it all about theater criticism. is that what we do? >> yeah, and it arouses people, that's what we're looking ad. >> obama advisers told me and perhaps others that the president deliberately didn't give a lofty rhetorical speech. he wanted to give more of a subdued speech looking forward
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to a second term. tested this with dial groups, people who twist the little knots. and yet journalists i think don't want to hear that. they want to know, did he hit it out of the park, to use the rainy baseball cliche. >> there is the fact that he knew the jobs numbers were coming out. knew what they were before the speech. got them about midday on the day before. so i mean, there was that. if he had given this soaring speech it how great everything was, the job numbers would have come out. we would have said, oh, my gosh, he's so -- this of completely out of touch with what's actually happening. there is the argument that there needed to be a balance struck there. and maybe as a result it became flat. >> you're sure at that president knew in advance that there would only be 96,000 jobs created, an anemicing? >> i believe it was a show, and it was said that the president gets if the following afternoon. >> i wonder if there's a discontent where the media would say it was too much of a public
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list and the public liked it. maybe the pundits didn't like the speech. clearly it wasn't his best speech, and everyone admits that. when he talked about the specifics, not that wisconsin, some of the framing of what he'd do in a second term. >> i think it's because people are who reporters had been there and had been t previous convention 24/7. i think there's a disconnect. if we're too much theater critics, the opinipublic does wo know issues. i think president obama could be faulted for not telling more than what he was doing, rather than and it was more important than whether he did or didn't hit it out of the park. >> let's pull back the cameras and talk about the democratic convention in charlotte. i was there, you were there, you were there. it's a long glide with the notion. it would be -- notwithstanding the lukewarm results from the president's speech that it got more positive covers than the
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republicans in tampa. so my question is, is that a fair reflection of realet, or has this chose something else. i think the democrats had better speakers. the chris christie speech did not go over well. he said i or me 43 times in that speech. if you look at the democratic convention, michelle obama had an exceptional speech. bill clinton somewhere, at least good peach. and president obama did what he had to do. i think the speakers were better. joe biden's spoech was good. they may get more of a bounce. >> we're talking two or three polling points, and it evaporates the next week. you're saying democrats put on a better show. >> right. >> there's no obligation for them to see one side or another put out the political show. a lot of people saying, you're reporter, you're more sympathetic than democrats. >> they're so close now. by the time the republican one ended, democrats were saying what awful -- how awful mitt
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romney was. so in the eyes of the pth when you hear that, it will kill the bounce. then the jobs number came out. the timing of these things and the fact that nthey're in late august with storms, there are things that complicate any kind of bounds from these thing. also, i mean, i don't think they changed any minds. >> that's my first to know. trying to shrink the core of voters. i think you have to talk about the most republican event was talking about the empty chair. they loved it. >> i think it's something. i think the media are in a tough spot. generally conservatives are better at attacking the media for liberal bias. and that's more of a suspicion. but objectively the democrats put on a pert show. that's a problem for -- a better show. that's a problem for -- >> more fact checking. maybe that's because the democrats told fewer opposites
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according to mitt romney and paul ryan saying president obama is cutting the budget for except, except they're doing the same thing. >> the media is asking, how much do we fact check. we're in a bind as to how we're going to play that still. >> it's good even though we're getting attacked for fact-che fact-checking because it's easier to make more americans -- it's great when you make a fact check, that pits the areative of the campaign -- narrative of the campaign that want to jump on it. >> i think one thing the media is critical of, we went in saying the conventions are scripted. clint eastwood not scripted at all, and he attacked. >> it was biazarre. coming up, mitt romney citizen gauging the mainstream press. he of "meet the press" this morning. we'll take a look.
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mitt romney who had avoided sunday talk shows for a year and a half deciding he wants to take advantage of the megaphone. he was on "meet the press" earlier. here's one of the exchange he had with host david gregory. >> you haven't specified where you'd cut loopholes in particular to make up the savings. in addition, you want to increase defense spending in addition to all of that. >> well, i want to maintain defense spending at the current level of the gdp. i don't want it keep bringing it down as the president's doing. this sequestration idea of the
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white house, which is cutting our defense, i think, is an extraordinary miscalculation. >> the republican leaders agreed to that deal, to extend the deficit -- >> a big mistake. >> what i liked about the exchange and gregory's other questions, jackie kucinich, is that he's pressing for details. seems that romney made news by disavowing the republicans, paul ryan and so forth, going along with the automatic cuts that now the republicans and others want to avoid. >> you notice he didn't say paul ryan. >> didn't say that, did he? >> like when you hear them say stuff about washington. you know, it -- paul ryan was there. yeah, i mean, i think you'll see even more of this story in the debates. i think the interviews were good because it does tease out more. romney's starting to do more of them where you can -- you're starting to get more answers about -- you know, that there aren't answers as far as some of the stuff he will cut eventually. >> right. romney had been on "face the nation" and "fox news sunday." where i thought gregory fell short, jane hall, was a question about the g.m. bailout. the auto bailout, big theme in the obama campaign. and romney tried to say, well,
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president obama took g.m. into bankruptcy. i said g.m. should have gone into bankruptcy earlier. was it just a timing dispute when in fact the president put billions of federal dollars into saving that automaker, took a stake in the company which the u.s. government still owned -- and gregory did not point that out or follow up. >> you know, it's tough because he had a certain upon number things he was trying to get to, get in ann romney, in boston with the two of them h. point to hit. he asked him about the social issues. he got a lot in, yes -- >> asked him about being potentially a first mormon president of the united states. i understand the time pressures there. >> right. i mean, the g.m. thing, i think will get fact checked. seems to me it was clearly not factually accurate, what he said. >> what do you make of romney, i presume this won't be the last such program he appears on. i thought the whole idea of these campaigns was to go around the old line media. seem like maybe they need us a little bit.
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>> i think so especially after the convention. i think it was a seclude political move to go on "meet the press" today. at the same time, i think romney's got to be more specific. gregory is trying to hit him on specifics on tax loopholes, afghanistan. the viewer knows when mitt romney is dodging questions. he dodged a lot of them today. and that's -- you hear that criticism from the right that romney's speech at the convention wasn't specific enough. so i think that's a fault of the candidacy, not the interview here. >> but does that -- those appearances and gregory did use the words secret plan at one point, share the secret plan, what are you going to do about afghanistan. does that put more pressure on president obama to do more interviews and be more specific about what he would do in a second term? >> absolutely. i think, though, that the person who's down is going to do more of the interviews. romney now is certainly the underdog. not a big underdog, slight underdog. it could put pressure if it flips a little bit. >> interesting. it also seems to me that a lot of people consume these conventions different ways. there were a record number, i think 16 million convention-related tweets between the pursuant republican
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democratic conventions. on the third night of the republican convention, it peaked -- i guess when romney was speaking, 14,000 tweet per minute, if i'm reading this right. 52,000 tweets per minute when obama was speaking on the final night. and then there was -- the administration or obama campaign put on its own live stream of the convention with cal penn of "harold and kumar" fame. former white house aide. you didn't have to watch network or cable in order to get a sense of what was going on in charlotte and tampa. >> it's true. also interesting when you watched it on tv versus in the hall, i felt like a lot of the impressions were different. but to your point with twitter, i was sitting next to adam sharp of twitter, during -- >> we had him on last week in charlotte. >> yeah, during michelle obama's speech. and you could just see the -- how much the -- it was upticking from even some of the republican speeches, mitt romney's speech. it was just -- it's one of these things that's new for this convention that was fascinating to watch. >> what i constantly heard reporters and others questioning, jane, is whether or
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not these conventions have become such a relic that we shouldn't have them. they're a totally prepackaged tv show except for clint eastwood. the broadcast networks only carry them from 10:00 to 11:00 on three nights. we all go down and try to hunt for news, which is very difficult. 15,000 journalists, each of them. have these outlived their usefulness? >> i think not, actually. you know, i -- i've covered this story for so long, you know, the network -- i wasn't there when they go gavel-to-gavel, but i've been there as they reduced and reduced. they had, i believe, 30 million people watching, 25 million people watching on the other party. i think people are watching. people are engaged. and yes, it's scripted -- >> even though the numbers are shrinking? >> but as far as the numbe of people who might be influenced, i don't necessarily think that's our job. whether we move votes. it was an important political event however they try to script it in my opinion. >> on the other hand, wednesday when nbc put on football, it got about -- almost as many viewers as did bill clinton. >> yeah. people who were actually in the
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arena watching football as opposed to that speech. so i think these things are going to be shortened but will always be around. we're not going to see the four-day con convention. both were three -- >> republican was supposed to be four days but got rained out because of tropical storm isaac. >> and the democrats had labor day. i think we'll look at three or two days. on jane's point, a lot of people were watching, especially the nominee. four years ago a lot of people watched sarah palin. >> it's useful for journalists because you can talk to lawmakers, politician strategists th may be hard to get on the phone. in that sense it's worth going. i had the impression that perhaps we're in a bubble where it seems huge, for example, when obama moved his speech from the bank of america stadium because of the threat of rain inside the time-warner cable arena. to people on the outside, not following as closely as the people inside what i call this bubble. >> isn't it always like that, up until september, october, november? i mean, during the primaries we were all, you know, glued to the set -- >> except here we're physically in the same city staying at bad
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hotels. >> no, very true. i feel like that's a lot of it. i mean, i feel like that's a lot of the political season. >> does it cause journalists to lose perspective on the impact of individual speeches on, the impact of the conventions themselves? >> you know, i think people are watching. and you have to keep in mind -- i mean, people are watching on the "today" show. they're watching on the live tweet. they're watching on sites they agree with and sites they disagree with. there is something there -- >> a blue line effect. >> there's some there there. >> clint east wood's speech was fascinating. when i talked to people after the convention, i was speaking to people at different rallies. they loved it. a love us were saying that was bizarre. but you know, out -- >> ultimately the people get to decide, not professional journalists. >> true. >> thank you very much, bob, jackie, jane, for stopping by. up next, the thrill is gone.
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we are continuing our critique of the democratic convention in charlotte. matt lewis from "the daily caller," and and michelle connell, washington correspondent and at "the daily beast," join me. at the beginning of the week, there were a lot of stories written about obama's 3 1/2-year record, where he fell short of promises. was this a sense of letdown that
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obama is no longer the hope and change candidate of 2008? >> i think there's a sense the letdown in general that he's not. we didn't just see it at the convention where his speech got mediocre reviews. if you crunched the number over the last couple of years, the news stories are more negative than positive on him. >> it may be a letdown in general. but the media particularly in '08 were seen as among his biggest cheerleaders. >> i think the expectations were so high and he hasn't been particularly good at courting the media over the years. and you know -- >> we spiel spurned? >> we -- we feel spurned? >> we feel spurned, letdown. on some level you get used to the speeches. they don't go as far as they used to. and there's obviously a sense of -- >> i like to see how the transcript records that. was this the week when the press confronted how short the obama presidency has fallen from its original goals? >> i don't know. i don't know that the press is really dealing with the substantive part of it. i tend to think michelle's right. this is like a flirtation or
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love affair. i think that they fell in love with barack obama's charisma and speaking skills, and i think that they were let down based on that, not let down on the basis of the economy not improving. >> now it's like a tedious marriage. >> exactly. >> now it seems like the democratic convention overall got pretty good, pretty solid, positive coverage in spite of the fact that the reviews were tepid of the president's own speech. >> exactly. and i think that part of that is obviously compared to, say, bill clinton. you should never, ever try and match that. or michelle obama. you know, the joke is that he gave the third best speech of this convention. i think that because everybody expects so much of him, they expected it to be more inspirational, more high-flying rhetoric. he gave a low-key performance. >> and his people tell me that had he given an inspirational high-flown rhetoric speech he would have got killed for being empty words and not delivering much substance. but compare the expectations for
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mitt romney's speech. when so many pundits said he had to connect. had to hit it out of the park, had to do this, do that, with whatever expectations there were for the president's renomination speech. >> i think that both conventions got done what they needed to do. i think they needed to humanize mitt romney. and i think that happened. and i think barack obama needed to make a case for re-election. i think they did that. but the interesting thing is i don't think either candidate did it themselves. it was bill clinton who made the case for barack obama. >> give me analysis. i figured you would walk in loaded for bear -- >> me? >> yes. and say that the press was skeptical at the least about what went on in tampa and much more accepting and praiseworthy about offering praise about what went on in charlotte. >> i do think that the conventional wis sdom that democratic convention -- and the media, that the democratic convention was head and shoulders above. i think both conventions were equal. both had problems. the republicans had a hurricane to deal with, they had clint eastwood to deal with. democrats had, you know, the god
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and palestine chaos thing. they also, you know -- there were some problems. they had to move to a different -- from the stadium to the -- but i think both -- again, accomplished their ultimate goals, too. >> let's talk about the platform flap. pompano bea president obama and his people ordered that the platform put back the word god or god given was the phrase. and again recognized as the party has in the past that the capital of israel is jerusalem, which is very fraught issue in the jewish american community. that was like a half day story. barely reported on msnbc. had this happened at the republican convention, would it have been a bigger story? >> well, if -- what you have is the democrats are already getting smacked by the republicans for not being pro-israel enough, taking god out. it played into an existing narrative. you know, on the other hand, you had the republicans with the abortion snafu because that plays to their existing narrative. so i think, you know, the democrats' issue wasn't quite as something to the broader public. more people get fired up about
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abortion than they do about the jerusalem issue. you still got attention from both. >> the press tends to yawn about platforms these days. i mean -- >> they don't matter. they do not matter. >> they used to be taken seriously. >> it wasn't just a platform. this wasn't something that happened in a smoke-filled room. this happened on national tv with -- antonio villaraigosa. and he had to do it three times. it was very clear that he didn't have the voice vote. that he actually overruled the will of the people. most of the delegates, most of the democratic delegates were booing putting god and palestine back in. so that should have been a huge story. it wasn't a boring platform story -- >> the reason was -- >> bill clinton spoke that night. >> wiped away anything else? >> bill was primetime. you know, that's what everybody saw. and everybody loves to report on bill. >> the republican guests happened in primetime like clint eastwood. the democrats had their own gaffes, but it was not primetime. >> the thing is to have it happen during the day -- >> that was the joke with putting joe biden before
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primetime. there was buzz that joe biden was put on before some of the networks would tune in to the convention. the republicans put out a press release that this must be intentional because they're afraid joe's going to embarrass -- >> they don't like covering from 10:00 to 11:00 on all three nights in the case of the democrats. since you brought up clinton, what do you make of all the conservative pundits joining in the praise of bill clinton? the guy gave an incredible stemwinder speech. but i sat in the speech in 8199, monica lewinsky, this guy, have you mellowed? >> no, i think it's convenient for conservatives to say that bill clinton was a moderate southern democrat -- look, in retrospect -- >> wait. that suggests that it is less than fully sincere. you're saying they praised clinton in order to bash obama. >> yes, absolutely. because i -- look, i actually have a memory and institutional knowledge. you were right, howie. back in the '90s, they didn't just say that bill clinton of a liberal. they said that this is a whole
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new generation, that he dodged the draft. he was -- otherwise, some of the stuff is actually true. he actually wasn't always a great guy. >> slick willie -- >> yeah. >> they used to hate this guy. what happened? >> what happened is he's now a convenient foil. he's a convenient contrast with the current president. so the way to really gig obama is to say to all those clinton democrats, well, he's no clinton, and we appreciate clinton, and how can you possibly go for this radical? >> how times have changed. you're being a little laid-back. i'm going to push you one more time. you say that you thought the democratic and the republican conventions both accomplished what they needed to do and, therefore, were successful conventions. yet, you also say the democratic convention got more positive coverage. >> yeah. >> why would that be? >> well, i think a couple of things. i think the fact that it came second clearly had a bigger bounce. the republican convention, the momentum from the republican convention was stepped on by the democratic convention. but i also think -- >> advantage to go second? >> absolutely. >> even if you're nominating a guy who's been in the country more than four years -- >> always want to go second. nature bats last. >> is there any
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journalistic/ideological aspect to this? >> i think so. i think that we know that most reporters are, you know, predisposed to be liberal. look, there were -- let me tell you a story that didn't get told by the media. >> very quickly. >> very quickly. the abortion-a-palooza, radicalization. the first two nights of the democrat uc convention, not nights but days. there were things way out of touch. and i think that it could have turned off a lot of voters in ohio. but the press didn't really harp on it. they didn't talk about. you have the head of naral, pro-life, national abortion rights action league speaking. if the republicans did that, it would have been, you know, this party has been taken over by the radical christian right. >> or is it that we basically do the criticism of the speeches and cover it as a show? >> we like a good show. we're jaded. we all know that whipping the base is part of the daytime, in the early speeches in the convention. and at some point it all comes down to who puts on the best circus. >> it has become a television show. there were circus-like aspects at both.
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michelle, matt, thank you very much for joining us. ahead, what was life like for 15,000 journalists in charlotte and tampa? a look at life inside the convention bubble. >> announcer: meet tom, a proud dad whose online friends all "like" the photos he's posting. oscar likes tom's photos, but he loves the access to tom's personal information. oscar's an identity thief who used tom's personal info to buy new teeth and a new car, and stuck tom with the $57,000 bill. [tires squeal] now meet carl who works from the coffee shop and uses the free wi-fi.
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after two weeks inside the
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convention bubble in tampa and charlotte, i can tell you that the most unappreciated factor in covering these things is sheer fatigue. by the end that's all anyone is talking about. your hotel is far from the convention sited, try south carolina in my case, the security is onerous, and tampa agents confiscated my banana. in charlotte, we kept getting rained on because security won't allow anyone to bring deadly umbrellas inside the arena. fire marshals kept shutting down the arena. big-time anchors including delegates couldn't get inside. police kept closing off highways so it took forever to get back to your far-flung hotel. throw in hot temperatures, bad food, and you've got a bone-tired press corps. this creates a reality-disportion field where you forget that not everyone is obsessively following each controversy and some folks might be following football or other things. now folks emerging from the bubble have to recover, get reacclimated with their families. after the break, complaints
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a thing that helps you wbuy other things.hing. but plenty of companies do that. so we make something else. we help make life a little easier, more convenient, more rewarding, more entertaining. year after year. it's the reason why we don't have customers. we have members. american express. welcome in. have more fiber than other leading brands. they're the better way to enjoy your fiber. for me this "new york times" piece struck a nerve. writing about the joyless nature of the race had this to say --
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"this spring for the first time since i started writing about politics a decade ago, i found myself completely depressed bay a campaign. how i'm going to get through it is not the question to be asking yourself as you enter who what is supposed to be the pinnacle few months of your profession." this sparked questions as to whether some wondered if he was on to something or a form of journalistic whining. lois milano for "politico" and eric whipple blogs about the media from the "washington post," joining us. the indictment is this is a campaign with little joy, gaffes, tactics, super pac ads, and not fun to cover. >> boo hoo. >> you're not moved? >> no. i'm not moved. would be great if we could all find joy in our jobs. but that's not our job, to find our inner joy in this campaign. this is a campaign about a time in our history that's not going well. our job is to cover that. and a lot of hard choices have to be made. these candidates need to figure out ways to express that. our job is to find out what they stand for and to communicate
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with the american public, not to have a good time. >> eric, you didn't mince words. you describe this as flat-out whining. >> well, i think there's a problem with the optics of complaining to begin with. i think complaining is a bad thing to be doing, first of all. i think that, you know, given where journalism has been for the past ten years, how much joy are all the unemployment journalists having now? is that a joyful sort of fate to be, you know, laid off by a news organization? so, you know, leibovitz and other folks are covering what's probably the most exciting, you know, most sort of like in the spotlight story in this country, in the world. so -- >> i would say that we are, as journalists, lucky to have these jobs, lucky to have jobs period. >> exactly. >> it was all about leibovitz just complaining. but i -- he wasn't available this morning. i did talk to him in charlotte for a live webcast on "the daily beast." let me play his comments where he expressed second thoughts. >> i sort of regretted making it as much about me as i did. that was my personal experience. i didn't want to make it sound
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like i was speaking for other reporter and that i was part of a groundswell of reporters complaining, which i think collectively might have come off whining. >> now, joe cline in "time" magazine says the press depression reflects the mood of the country. in other words, maybe leave activities is not just saying i'm not -- leibovitz is not just saying i'm not having a great time but the campaign is not illuminating or satisfying. >> there's a problem there, too. that is that mark leibovitz is the chief national correspondent for "the new york times" magazine. and if these people are really upset about how the way things are going, i think journalists and so on and so forth, they can't crusade if they work for "the new york times," they can't crusade for one side or the other. they can crusade for transparency. they can crusade for other things. i think that's where news organizations don't do enough. it's like, okay, you don't want to come down on the side of either candidate, but you can say this candidate did not say anything when asked about tax policy. this candidate did not say anything when asked about exactly what they're doing on immigration. there should be more crusading. i think that's where he might
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channel his obsessions more constructively. >> it's not just this one reporter, "politico" a couple of months ago, said the media bemob bemoaned the campaign but is talking about self-loathing and powerlessness. i assume there's no self-loathing at this table. are there legitimate gripes about the way the campaign is playing snout it's not designed for us to have fun, but it is designed to make us feel we're contributing to the national debate. >> it's a controlled campaign on both sides. it's also probably one of the ugliest campaigns i can remember. >> relentless -- >> when you think about what the kinds of thing they're saying, it's like you play golf too much, well, your wife rides horses. you know, and however -- >> you killed that guy's wife, bain capital -- >> exactly. >> you didn't say you didn't build this, this endless cycle -- >> right. i believe -- i agree with barack obama, one line in his speech, where he says that this election is about monumental choices and different visions.
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and so i think our job as journalists is to hold the candidates accountable and to say what are your visions, be specific. report them to the voters. >> but it is difficult, eric, to hold them accountable when we as journalists have less and less access. this is not the mccain campaign of 2000. you get to ride around with the guy on the bus for hours on end. instead i had a journalist say, my employer spent tens of thousands of dollars to send me on romney's foreign trip or air force one. and i never get within, you know, 500 yards of the guy. >> look what happens, though, when the press is forceful about making the point that we're not getting access. like on romney's foreign trip, a big part of the story of the lack of access. i'd say the press scored a victory there. i believe i've heard from romney reporters since then. they've loosened up a little bit. there's been a little bit more information flow since then. so i might cite that as a success story. >> you were all about push-back. in other words, if the campaign is small and negative and mean -- look, we have to cover the campaign in front of us, we can't cover the campaign we wish
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to have. the idea is to do something about it rather than just moan about it. is that realistic? >> i think it's realistic particularly in a race like this where it's incredibly close. and i think that like this wher close and you push back you're going to get some results because neither of these campaigns want to alienate the press right now. >> i'm not sure they care that much what we think. >> they care about coverage. they care about how they are presented. >> to what extent is our own collective object seg and you see this a lot on cable news day after day after day with the gaffe, the misstep, the sound bite, personal attack and not about the future of medicare or what the campaign is supposed to be about. do we be contribute to a small minded campaign because of our tweeting and the 24 hour nature of this small stuff. >> we're in a 24/7 cycle. in the last election cycle in 2008, mccain's advisors stopped
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the straight talk express for that reason because all they were getting -- they weren't getting the grand big views from david broders of the world, they were getting little tiny increments. they had 20-year-olds and asking the candidate demeaning questions and they said forget it we can't get any vision. >> we as journalists don't give ourselves enough credit for one thing and that's your last statement which is fact checking. fact checking is where substance is residing. cbo has never gotten a better press, in fact checking is like an cbo advertising. >> we need to do more of. a little bit time of. fox won republican convention in tampa beating all the broadcast networks. msnbc won for the democratic convention. cnn won one night and fox was
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last. >> people leave the turv on tha speaks to their ideology. >> were they gravitating towards msnbc during the republican convention? you're saying they want their own opinions reinforced and don't like watching the opposite party? >> we've been seeing that for quite a while. what's really interesting about those ratings is how much higher they were during the democratic convention and i think that goes to a very fundamental point, which is that obama's base likes him a lot more than romney's base and i found this in talking to the delegates. there's much more passion among the core liberal democrats than you're finding with the conservatives. >> or just briefly do democrats have bigger stars in people like bill clinton, michelle obama? >> i'm a little hesitant to draw too many conclusions from those ratings. >> same thing happened in '08
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where fox won the republican convention, cfn won the democratic convention. >> and msnbc ran, as you discussed in your class segment ran into a lot of trouble of not covering the god thing. >> didn't mean to cut you off. thank for stopping in this sunday morning. still to come, tom brokaw's pharmalogy mistake. katie couric presses back against a sexist description. [ male announcer ] now you can swipe... scroll... tap...
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time now for the media monitor our weekly look at hits and errors. for a few brief hours websites erupted with headlines that suggested tom brokaw may have a serious health problem. he was rushed to the emergency room after falling ill on the set of morning joe during the democratic convention but his problem turned out was taking an ambien. >> it was one of those dumb mistakes. i got up early. i was in a rush. half a sleeping pill got in the box reserved for baby aspirins. kicked in at the wrong time. >> a lesson in how tweeting and blogging can make a minor
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incident seemed huge. some "the washington post" readers upset the other morning when the paper had nothing on michelle obama's election speech or the national's game. a massive computer meltdown made it impossible to update the paper. the timing couldn't be worse when people expect their newspaper to have the latest news. >> remember the new york writer who had to resign after another report of found fabrications in his book. there's more to the story. wired magazine has severed its ties with him after hiring a yournlism professor who found numerous examples of plagiarism. he wouldn't publish the results which is hard for me to understand but slate did. he wrote i'm convinced that lohrer has a cavalier attitude about truth and falsehood. this shows not only in his attitude towards quotations but in some of the other details of his writing.
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and a journal who fails to correct errors when their pointled out is in my opinion, exhibiting reckless disregard for truth. >> in my experience there's usually a pattern. katie couric's daytime show debuts tomorrow. she tells me her approach will not be that far removed from what she did on the cbs evening news. that's a tricky balance. a syndicated program has to appeal to stay at home women who have less interest in news topics. she told me she wants to explore serious subjects in the way oprah did but quick to note they have very different life experiences. on a lighter note, couric pushes back being called a cougar because she had been dating a man 17 years her junior saying it's silly and sexist. you don't hear men dating women younger being called cougars. critics will watch e.

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